Iberdrola Ingenieria and a group of Basque companies including Ingeteam, Ormazábal and Arteche have partnered to launch a research and development (R&D) project aimed at designing a new marine substation for offshore wind farms.

Backed by the Basque Government, the Marin-El R&D project will offer an alternative to the existing bulky and heavy substations, eliminating one of the main difficulties involved in the various offshore technologies for power generation.

Based on the concept of a self-installing substation developed entirely on dry land, the Iberdrola-led initiative will provide several advantages, including speeding up installation and significantly reducing costs.

The new type of offshore facilities are required to help meet increasingly demanding situations such as expanding capacity, managing reliable electricity production and minimising losses caused by the distance to the coast.

"The project will also study the environmental impact of the new installation type through a life cycle assessment."

Under the initiative, which has been allocated a €10m budget, the company and its partners have designed a pre-equipped system to secure the substation to the sea bed without using installation vessels that would curb the associated costs and avoid various technical limitations.

The project, which is set to complete at the end of 2015, will also study the environmental impact of the new installation type through a life cycle assessment, which is being be carried out by Semantic Systems and Corporación Tecnológica Tecnalia.

The project also involves Basque shipyard Construcciones Navales del Norte that will define the required equipment and offshore operations and will be supported by the Basque Maritime Forum to carry out the said operations.

Testifying Iberdrola’s commitment to offshore renewable energy generation technologies, the new initiative will further bring significant technological development in the offshore energy sector.

Image: Iberdrola launches Marin-El R&D Project. Photo: courtesy of Iberdrola.